STERLING, Va. -- House Republicans came to TART Lumber in suburban Washington, D.C. Thursday to unveil their "Pledge to America," a sweeping conservative agenda that calls for reigning in federal spending, permanently extending all of the Bush tax cuts and repealing President Obama's democratically passed health care reform law.
Republicans are hoping the document serves as a rallying call for conservatives to get out the vote this fall and propel them back into the majority in the House of Representatives. "The Pledge" also gives us a preview of the issues Republicans would push should they succeed in their efforts.
Although they won't admit to it publicly, "The Pledge To America" bears some striking similarities to a Tea Party backed document called "The Contract From America."
"There are a number of ideas in their document that come straight from ‘The Contract From America,' said Tea Party Society Member and the "Contract From America" organizer Ryan Hecker. "Their ‘Pledge to America' includes many of our Contract's planks, including the top-voted idea to ‘Protect the Constitution' by requiring every bill to cite Constitutional authority, rejection of Cap and Trade, the imposition of meaningful spending limits, repeal of government-run health care, and extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts."
When asked about any connection between the two documents during Thursdays event, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, downplayed any link. "We listened to all Americans as we put this together," Boehner said. "Our members over the last four months have done thousands of town hall meetings, public forums, private meetings to listen to the American people and bring their ideas back to Washington."
However, after the event a senior member of the Republican House leadership told Fox News, "That document had a lot of influence on ours. No question about it."
"I don't know why they would want to shy away from our work," said Hecker. "It only proves they're listening to the people.""The Contract From America" started in September of 2009 with the website contractfromamerica.com which asked people for the ideas for a set of principals upon which to hold elected officials accountable. Over 450,000 people logged onto the site and voted to narrow list from 21 principals down to 10, which were unveiled on April 15, 2010 at Tea Party rallies across the country."We are also pleased that they so admired the Contract's model of allowing for real citizen input that they created their own website, America Speaking Out, to approximate the same function," said Hecker. "This is evidence that Republicans are beginning to listen to the millions of ordinary Americans that are fed up with Washington's ways."
Even former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, the man behind the 1994 "Contract With America" which propelled Republicans to the majority for the first time in 40 years, gave credit to the Tea Party backed document. "A new generation of reform Republicans is offering the American people a clear choice about America's future...the reform Republicans offer [is]a choice between the job killing, big government, high tax agenda of the Democratic Party and a Republican Party agenda to reverse out-of-control spending, restore fiscal accountability leading to a balanced budget, create confidence in the private sector to spur new job creation, and strengthen the family," Gingrich said.
Click below to read each of the documents and decide for yourself.